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It's a conspiracy - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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With regards to the official responses coming from the majority of countries which have recently witnessed revolutions or popular protests, the common factor is the accusation that foreign parties are meddling with their internal affairs. The people, it seems, are not supposed to get angry or protest, let alone revolt or demand change. How could they, having been domesticated for so long? They are no longer expected to make any moves, other than staging demonstrations in support of their beloved leaders, who seek to stay in power for life, whatever the price. This explains why such leaders have reacted to these protests and uprisings against them with utter amazement and sheer disbelief. Thus their only option is to accuse foreign parties of plotting, manipulating, and steering the course of events and protests.

Colonel Gaddafi, after presenting us with his “Zenga Zenga” speech, which was later adapted and transformed into a viral YouTube hit, has now stressed to three experienced foreign correspondents, who have been following the events on the ground, that his people love him and are willing to die for him. To prove such devotion, Gaddafi has ordered his troops to crush those dirty “rats” and “drug addicts”, and has vowed to fight them off “inch by inch, house by house.” By assigning this task to his sons, and the military battalions carrying their names, Gaddafi can occupy himself exclusively with giving speeches and holding interviews with any microphone that appears in front of him, in order to prove to the world that his regime is still cohesive. He seeks to portray the situation as if the entire Libyan people stand with their leader who came to power in the 1969 bloodless coup, and that the footage and pictures coming out of Libya are nothing but lies, amplified by the media.

Colonel Gaddafi has so far usurped all his peers with his readiness to shed blood, and continue fighting up “until the last man, woman, and child”. Yet he is doing this merely in order to cling onto what he considers to be a ceremonial position, because, as he has pointed out, he is not the president, nor does he hold a political office to step down from. In his persistence to hold onto power, we see him utilize all his skills and maneuvering capabilities, which have enabled him to retain power for more than 41 years. Sometimes he would claim that the Libyan uprising was a conspiracy contrived by satellite TV stations, and other times he would attempt to intimidate the world, claiming that Libyan Al Qaeda sleeper cells have been activated and are taking the lead in the fight against his regime. He would warn that [if he was overthrown], the Mediterranean Sea would witness acts of piracy like Somalia, and argue that Libya under his command is a key partner in the global fight against Al Qaeda. He also maintains that his country protects Europe from illegal immigration, stating that “there are millions of blacks who could come to the Mediterranean to cross to France and Italy, and Libya plays a security role in the Mediterranean.” Furthermore, this week Colonel Gaddafi did not hesitate, in an interview with channel France 24, to say that “The international community is in a predicament right now because it has adopted a stance, and later on discovered that the situation on the ground was different. Thus it will gradually start to alter its position.”

On the other side of the Arab World, we see Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is currently facing an increasingly expanding popular uprising, delivering a series of speeches suggesting he has grown weary of the president’s office, and that after 32 years in power “there are people who are tired of us, and that is life.” Despite such weariness, Saleh refuses to step down “in a chaotic manner”, and shall complete his presidential term after which “there will be no extension or bequeathal [of power].” Saleh claimed that the current popular protests were nothing but “a wave of nonsense”, or “creative destruction”, which were being controlled by an “operation room in Tel Aviv…run by the White House.” Not long after issuing this statement, Saleh retracted it and apologized, not to his own people but to Washington, as it was the Americans who objected to his words.

According to this interpretation of events, protestors should stop demanding their rights and liberties, and should stop asking for improved living conditions or socio-political change. Otherwise, they are merely acting as part of a foreign conspiracy seeking to destroy their prosperity, and deprive themselves of their veteran, wise and irreplaceable leaders. Fearing such chaos, protestors in Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia should understand that they must cease their demonstrations, go back to work in their offices, factories or markets, and then return home and sit in front of the television and watch drama series, game shows, cheerful domestic news, and coverage of problems and crises taking place in remote places far beyond their happy borders.

We should not believe satellite TV channels, newspapers, and radio stations, when they broadcast news of demonstrations and protests taking place in our Arab World, because in doing so we are acting like “drug addicts”, or those conspiring with Israel and America. When Arab satellite TV stations broadcast such events, they forfeit their Arab identity, their reporters deserve to be beaten, their offices deserve to be shut down, and their transmission is rightfully blocked. As for Facebook, it is a Jewish invention, whilst Twitter is an American concept. Both have been created to infiltrate our youth, and infuse them with delusional ideas, prompting them to call for demonstrations and protests.

The prevailing state of denial, and the perception that these popular uprisings are the work of foreign conspiracies, rather than the outcome of actual demands or accumulated grievances, does not bode well for any imminent breakthroughs, but instead threatens further clashes and bloodshed. Had our rulers, instead of attempting to convince the masses of the existence of foreign conspiracies, listened to their populace and tried to understand what they want, then this pent-up anger would not have erupted. We wouldn’t have seen leaders being forced to relinquish power, or flee their countries, instead of retiring and living on national soil with their dignity and respect intact. Only those who rule with justice and fulfill their promises, before they become personas non grata in the eyes of their people, can live in such a manner at the end of their service.

Osman Mirghani

Osman Mirghani

Osman Mirghani is Asharq Al-Awsat's former deputy editor and senior editor-at-large.

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